Seasonal Employees

Now that it is December, holiday shopping is in full swing, which means that retailers nationwide have been hiring additional seasonal workers to help the full-time staff with the high volume of sales during this time.  Along with retailers, seasonal destinations like ski resorts also depend on seasonal employees as well as foreign workers on short-term work visas for their staffing needs, as most do not operate in the summer months.   

National retailer Target announced during September that they planned to hire an additional 70,000 employees at their stores and distribution and fulfillment facilities.  What that number shows is Target is reliant on seasonal employees for success in the holiday season.   

Ski resorts like Aspen are also reliant on seasonal employees, many of them being foreign workers.  These foreign workers are often college students from the Southern Hemisphere like Australia, Brazil, and Argentina, because their summer breaks fall during our winter.  Hiring foreign students can be a good idea, but you must make sure they are legal to work.

 How can you protect yourself with seasonal employees?

  •  Verify that they are legally permitted to work in the U.S.   Even though they are seasonal employees, they still must have legal authorization to work in the U.S.  An I-9 form must be filled out for all new employees. 


  • Carefully classify the worker as an employee or independent contractor.  The classification of workers has come under much scrutiny recently, especially with services like Uber and Lyft.  While classifying them as an independent contractor may provide some benefits to the employer, misclassification can create a myriad of legal issues.


  • Properly classify “unpaid interns”- The FLSA defines the circumstances in which a business can hire an unpaid intern.  Be sure to be compliant with FLSA laws.